Dehydrator Review, So Far

Well, I’ve been using the dehydrator to dry locally grown, organic blueberries.  Now, these blueberries are HUGE, so it has taken much longer than I thought it would.  After talking to others who have also been trying to dehydrate these monster blueberries, I’m not alone in struggling to get these suckers dried.  Literally, some of the blueberries are the diameter of a quarter.  That said, I am happy with the dehydrator itself.  I bought the Sausage Maker Stainless Steel 10-Tray Dehydrator  Model D10 w/Timer from Harvest Essentials.  I upgraded the trays to stainless steel.  This did up the price tag quite a bit from one of the plastic models, but it does have a 20 year warranty that the small plastic ones do not have.  It is big, but I knew that.  Setting up the unit was pretty straight forward.  I do think the literature with the unit could be a bit more informational.  I wanted a stainless steel dehydrator because I didn’t like the idea of heating food on plastic, especially for long periods of time.  This dehydrator is quiet, which I like.  The motor is on the back of the unit, so it blows evenly across the food instead of concentrating the drying on the bottom of the unit.  The trays have 3/8″ holes.  I  wish the company offered stainless steel mesh for small items.  All they offer is a plastic mesh.  I’ll keep looking for a food safe stainless mesh to put on the trays.  The timer is a must have in my mind.  This unit also has a temperature control, which will be helpful for different types of food.  This unit can be used to make sausage, obviously, it’s in the name.  We plan on attempting to make sausage this winter.  I’ll update the review after we have tried that.  Overall, I give the Sausage Maker Model D10 w/Timer a thumbs-up.

Sausage Maker Model D10 w/Timer

Dehydrators to Go Green?

Sure!  What better way to take advantage of local, seasonal food than by dehydrating the bounty of the season.  That is what I recently decided to do.  Our family LOVES dried blueberries all year.  We put organic blueberries on sunbutter and toast.  Oh so yummy, and healthy too.  The downside is that organic dried blueberries are very pricey.  We have a number of local growers who don’t use a bunch of nasty pesticides.  Even better, to save money, you can go and pick your own.  That’s what we did the last weekend.  The blueberry recipes are flowing out of my kitchen.

I decided to invest in a dehydrator.  Well, I can’t just go buy a dehydrator, I need to research.  I started thinking about the material used in dehydrators.  With all the buzz about BPA, I decided a dehydrator made from polycarbonate might not be the best health or eco choice.  As a matter of fact, I decided to avoid plastic dehydrators all together.  I’ve gone with a stainless steel case, and stainless steel racks.  It is the closest to an inert material next to glass.  Stainless is as close to leach-free as you can get, again, next to glass.  The stainless is more expensive, but there is a long warranty, so I hope it will be the last dehydrator I buy.    I also figure it will pay for itself in dried blueberry savings alone: wink, wink. Much of the stainless steel on the market is recycled, plus stainless is infinitely recyclable.  There are a number of stainless dehydrators on the market.  I did  find one dehydrator where the case was BPA, but the trays were polypropylene.  Polypropylene is considered a food safe plastic.   The dehydrator I decided on is rectangular with the drying element in the back.  The research and reading I did convinced me this is the most efficient shape and process.  I also ran across non-electric dehydrators, which would be the greenest, but some of the reviews moved me to an electric one.  I expect the dehydrator by the end of this week.  Once I get it, and try it out, I will write a review.

Here are some of the websites I looked at:

Sausage Maker-Dehydrators

Harvest Essentials

Plastic vs. Stainless

Dehydration Nation-Hanging Dehydrator

National Center for Home Food Preservation